Indiana Lands Former MVP Yolanda Griffith
INDIANAPOLIS - A two-time Olympic gold medalist, seven-time WNBA All-Star and a member of the WNBA's All-Decade Team, Yolanda Griffith has signed a free agent contract with the Indiana Fever. Griffith, No. 2 in WNBA history in rebounds (2,437), also ranks among the league's all-time leaders in points (6th), steals (4th), blocks (8th) and free throws (3rd). Per team policy, terms of the contract are not disclosed.
A 6-3 center, the 38-year-old Griffith becomes the fourth WNBA All-Star on a Fever roster that includes Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas and Tammy Sutton-Brown, totaling 16 all-star appearances between them. Griffith, who played in Seattle last season after her first nine WNBA seasons in Sacramento, will team with Sutton-Brown, second-year player Khadijah Whittington and 2008 WNBA Most Improved Player Ebony Hoffman to bolster the Fever's front line.
"We are thrilled to sign one of the greatest rebounders and defenders in the history of the women's game," said Fever Head Coach Lin Dunn. "Yo will have an immediate impact on our inside game, on the offensive and defensive end. Her experience and leadership on a WNBA championship team and two Olympic gold medal teams are exactly what we need!"
Added Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf, "I am thrilled that Yolanda has chosen to sign with us. She is the ultimate competitor and professional, and will solidify our core of post players. She has won on all levels and brings a toughness to our team that will help through the playoffs. She understands what it takes to win and compete at the highest level. I look forward to our fans meeting her, and welcoming her to Indiana."
In a 10-year WNBA career that spans 308 games and a title in 2005 with the Monarchs, Griffith boasts a 10.3 career scoring average and 7.0 rebounds per game. She started 30 games for Seattle last season, averaging 7.2 points and 6.3 rebounds, in her 12th pro season overall.
"I'm going to Indiana partly because they remind me of my days in the ABL [American Basketball League] with the Long Beach Stingrays," said Griffith, who was born and raised in nearby Chicago. "They're [the Fever] a blue-collar team, they play hard and leave it all on the court. For me, this is another opportunity to play with great players that I have competed against for years."
Following two years at Palm Beach Junior College and two at Florida Atlantic University, Griffith was the No. 1 overall pick by the Stingrays of the ABL. She was the ABL Defensive Player of the Year as a rookie, and after the league folded, she was made the No. 2 overall selection of the 1999 WNBA Draft, by Sacramento.
In her first year in the WNBA, Griffith was the league's MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. Five years later, after Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2004, she helped guide the Monarchs to their first WNBA crown. She signed a free agent contract with the Storm prior to the 2008 season.
The Indiana Fever celebrates its 10th anniversary season in 2009, opening the summer season at Atlanta on Saturday, June 6 (7:00 p.m.), and hosting the Minnesota Lynx on June 7 (7:00 p.m.) - exactly 10 years after the franchise was founded (June 7, 1999). Led by Griffith, two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings, Olympic silver medalist Tully Bevilaqua, 2008 WNBA Most Improved Player Ebony Hoffman and two-time WNBA All-Stars Katie Douglas and Tammy Sutton-Brown, the Fever bids for its fifth consecutive playoff appearance in 2009. Season tickets are available at FeverBasketball.com, or by calling (317) 917-2500.
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Women's National Basketball Association Stories from February 20, 2009
- Storm Re-Signs Australian Center Suzy Batkovic - Seattle Storm
- Indiana Lands Former MVP Yolanda Griffith - Indiana Fever
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